How to Have a Fun Summer Weekend on a Budget

Jun 21, 2013

Couple relaxing in the sunshine.

Summertime and the livin' is easy…" At least that's how the song goes. Summer is a great season to get outside with friends and family and an even better time for taking that well-deserved vacation. However if you’re running low on time off and extra cash, it may be more economical for you and your family to stay local.

Weekends are a great time to check out local attractions and be outdoors. But if you’re not careful, the money you spend on “staycations” can add up. Most of us tend to spend more money during local weekend outings because we’re not paying for lodging and have more time to fill. Fortunately, we've put together a list about how to have a fun-filled weekend with your family without spending a lot of extra money.

Free Community Events

Most cities and towns have a free magazine or website with a community calendar, listing no-cost events in your area. Festivals, concerts and films are common events you’ll find - especially during the warmer months. Check out local museums too. (Many offer free admission to specific exhibits or perhaps even the entire museum.)

Outdoor Fun

Where else would you rather be during the summer than outdoors soaking up the sun? Small neighborhood parks usually have a playground, greenway, athletic field, or outdoor picnic facility. Think about all of the great meals you could have outside! This is an especially good option for big families or large gatherings of friends. Larger parks like nature reserves usually offer hiking trails and nature paths. If you have a dog, call the park, because many will allow you to bring them if they remain on a leash.

Do you have a pool membership? If so, a day trip to the neighborhood pool is a great way to have some fun without spending any additional money. Pack a lunch before you leave, and you and your family could spend the whole day in the sunshine. Just don't forget the sunscreen!

If you would rather stay home, take out the sprinkler and some bubbles and play water games in the front yard. Your kids are sure to work up an appetite, so throw some burgers, hot dogs and veggies on the grill for an impromptu barbecue. Finish the day off by roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.

Indoor Games

Sometimes the summer heat becomes brutal. Thunderstorms are also more likely this time of the year. When scorching heat or driving rain hits, the weather can leave you and your family stuck inside for hours. So break out some games! Games that involve physical movement, like on the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect, are great for families.

For some more nostalgic play, dust off your old video game systems and give your kids a taste of what it was like in the good ol’ days. Classic board games are always a good option too. Monopoly, Clue or Life are great ways to pass some time. When all else fails, nothing beats a game of hide and seek. And don’t forget to invite your friends and neighbors over for a potluck and an old-fashioned game of bridge or Pinochle.

Plan for your vacation!

Save money every weekend and you'll be ready for a family getaway in no time! Until then, research the fun activities, sightseeing options and local restaurants that your dream vacation destination has to offer.